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A question to the prior of the Augustinian monastery
73,1. I say to him, "For this moment you have drawn yourself nicely from the noose. And since you yourself are not able to answer my question, I will also consider such an answer as an answer. But be careful, I will give you a second question, perhaps you will find this answer in you. Since you, being well versed in Scripture, could not know during your lifetime on the earth whether the Apostle Peter has ever lived in Rome and established the Roman Church, I would still like to knowfrom you why you entreated the idea during your life to zealously pursue the position of a monastic prior? And why have you, after you achieved the position of prior by various sly means, have entreated the head of the church a few times, to make him appoint you the position of general of your convent, or if possible, a bishop? Behold, this is an important question, and you will be able to give me an answer, since you have experienced it all in yourself, and you are still alive in the sight of your memory.
73,2. Our paradisiac primus now makes a very perplexed face, searches for a clever reply in every corner of his being, and finds, as you can easily see from his embarrassed physiognomy, nothing in himself, and feels very strongly coerced against his will, to come forth with the truth. Even if it would burn his tongue like when one would eat too hot food, it would not do him any good. He, therefore, decides to speak the truth, come what may.
73,3. See, he opens his mouth; so listen what he shall say. He (the Prior) says, Dear friend, whoever you may be, I tell you frankly that I have done all this literally all for myself. And why did I do this? Because, I very well knew the principles of the Roman Catholic Church, and I was only too well acquainted with what the Christian theorems state, namely, nothing but to rule the world. And to obtain such, one must be able to provide it prestige, and through prestige, treasures and riches. But in what condition pure Christianity is because of this, as you know it yourself, the Roman Church never cared about.
73,4. And if I am not mistaken have the Roman Church been in such a state of conscience regarding Christianity since the time of Charles the Great, who, as far as I know, gave the Bishop of Rome a piece of land and thus made him a secular ruler.
73,5. Since that time had man regarded Christianity in its pure sphere to be quite unsuitable for the sake of ecclesiastical affairs, only in secrecy because, in its authenticity, it directly opposed temporal prestige. Man thus only kept the name and adopted the teaching to such an extent that worldly prestige had to be accepted.
73,6. I must also tell you that I have often secretly compared the papal lifestyle to Daniel's god "Mäusim," to whom gold, silver, and precious stones are sacrificed, and in which no love of women will be. But what did all this benefit me? I was yoked like a stupid ox, who could have unharnessed me? But this is true, however, that the front oxen have to pull less on the wagon than the rear ones yoked closer to the wagon. I was glad to see this. That is why I tried to be put into a yoke more to the front yoke, being more a parading ox than a pulling ox. Could I have acted differently?
73,7. I could have done differently if God had not given me such a sensitive skin. But, because of my very sensitive skin and the constant sight of the many burning stakes, I acted wise and did nothing at all. I thought: True Christian well-doing rooted in a true godly sense is virtually impossible in such circumstances! I would rather not do anything, I tolerated the external stupidity as well as I could, and I made use of it for my own temporal advantage. I knew well enough that there was something wrong with the doctrine of Christ, but then I thought again:
73,8. If the Lord has established this doctrine, as it is in the Gospels, He will also have His reasons, why He has allowed this His simple and most pure teaching degenerate! Besides, I thought more and more of Paul, who implored his congregations to be subject to the secular power, whether it be good or evil; For there is no power except from God. If what these church leaders are doing is wrong, then they shall be held accountable. But I will do what Pontius Pilate did once since he could not prevent Christ to be crucified. The Lord, as the most perfect Being, will surely see that one person with very much limited power cannot swim against the collective river of the world!
73,9. Behold, dear friend, wherever you may be from, this is the answer to your question; And you can now take my skin off right here, but you will not be able to get any more out of me.
73,10. Now I say, "Good, my dear friend, you have not withheld anything, but gave a true witness of what you have found in your memory. But I would like to know from you why you came to this paradise? For if you were convinced of the total defectiveness of the Roman Church, according to your statement, you must be convinced that her doctrine of the survival of the soul after death must be as false as anything else. To this end, I must tell you that many out of the Catholic Churchhave already entered the real kingdom of God, and I must also remark to you that even if the Catholic Church finds herself in complete anti-Christianity, I still do not know whether she has ever forbidden charity or humility. Therefore, I still would like to hear from you how it came about that you came to this paradise, as I have already said.
73,11. Our Primus says, "Dear friend, wherever you may be from, to answer this question will be a little difficult for me, for honestly, the reason which has brought me here I know as little as the center of the earth. For if I tell you quite sincerely, I have completely renounced the immortality of the soul after death with many other issues in my physical life. But if one renounces spiritual life after death, there is no other choice but to live according to the ancient Roman saying: "Ede, bibe, lude; Postmortem nulla voluptas! "(i.e.," eat, drink, play, for, after death, there is no more pleasure! ") So, I have also lived on earth mostly to eat and drink and have, for the sake of eating and drinking taken part in all kinds of worldly frivolities.
73,12. When, however, the fatal bodily death came upon me, about which I have had so many useless thoughts during my lifetime, I first learned that this death of the body is by no means ultima linea rerum (last); but that I continued living my life after the inexplicable laying off my earthly hull, as I have formerly lived on the earth. The only difference is that I now am spending my time, instead of in the dirty monastic cells, in these pretty garden salons, and am wearing instead of a black robe, white robe, no longer read any masses, but I am here like a louse endowed with reason and literally a 'fructus consumere natus' (born to consume the fruit of the earth).
73,13. The fact that these secular monastic rules are still being observed here is just as inexplicable as anything else. We imagine ourselves to be happy here; truly, we are only happy here because of our reinstituted and applied, somewhat cultivated monastic order. If you take this away, the field mice are happier than us. I must, therefore, admit to you that not one single one of us really know why we are here.
73,14. If you know of something better, let us know, and we will gladly exchange this uncertain pretense even with some certain predicament. Do with me and with us all you want, only spare us hell and any more questions. I have told you everything for now, and now you can ask me as much you want, I will know how to answer everyone like a stone. For where there is nothing, death cannot take anything.
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